Black-eyed pea and chorizo soup

Black eyed pea and chorizo soup DSC3499

It’s good to be back in New York. See, like so many others (and perhaps even yourself) I was affected by the East Coast blizzard and spent a few unexpected days in Pittsburgh, PA on my way back to the city.

Passing time in an airport is never fun, especially when you’re in a strange town where you don’t know anyone. But I have to say, if you’re going to be stranded somewhere, Pittsburgh is not so bad. The people are friendly, the city is beautiful and the food is hearty. Not to mention the airport has free Wi-Fi so you could stay connected to the world without paying an exorbitant fee.

I’m still not certain what this experience was supposed to teach me, but I think it may have to do with being able to give up control. Sure, I was powerless but screaming and yelling wouldn’t get me home any faster. So I remained calm, as did my fellow passengers.

Once I surrendered to the situation, I decided to make the most of it. I grabbed an airport café table and fashioned it into a desk so I could work on my book. There were two friends on the flight I hadn’t seen in a while so it was a pleasure catching up with them. I also became unusually outgoing and shared stories with my fellow passengers and gave those visiting New York tips on things to do when they’re in the city.

Likewise, there were travelers from parts of Texas I wasn’t familiar with and I learned about a host of new places to try next time I’m home. Some guys started tossing a football while another group started singing carols. If you have to be stranded, I was so thankful to be in a group that was collectively in good spirits. It could have been far worse.

After a few too many overstuffed sandwiches and baskets of cheese fries, however, I had a strong urge to return to my kitchen and cook. So when I finally did land in New York, the first thing I did was fire up my stove and make some soup.

While I was in Houston, my mom had made a white chili recipe she’d been given by our family friend Mary Jo. It was full of chicken, salsa, cheese, and beans and was just the thing you needed on a cold night. Back in my kitchen in New York, I thought about recreating it but I opted to make it with the ingredients that I had on hand. So instead of chicken, I used Mexican chorizo. And since New Year’s Day is approaching I used black-eyed peas instead of pinto beans.

The soup takes little time to come together but is full of flavor and warmth. Mary Jo had told my mom, “Make this soup and your kids will thank you.” And while I may have changed the original recipe a bit, this adaption has made me pretty thankful as well.

Black-eyed pea and chorizo soup | Homesick Texan

So it’s time to say farewell to 2010, which was an interesting year. And yes, like all of you I certainly have high hopes for 2011. There are lots of trips to Texas planned and my book will be published. But whatever happens, after my time in Pittsburgh I’ve decided that if life steers me onto an unexpected road I’ll accept and perhaps even enjoy the strange new journey. Who knows, it could be even better than the one I had in mind.

Happy New Year!

Black eyed pea and chorizo soup DSC3499
5 from 3 votes

Black-eyed-pea and Mexican chorizo soup

Servings 8
Author Lisa Fain


  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound Mexican chorizo, removed from casing and crumbled
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 15 oz. canned diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 1 or 2 canned chipotle chiles
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 6 cups cooked black-eyed peas in liquid or 3 15-ounce cans of black-eyed peas
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro plus more for garnishing
  • 2 cups pepper Jack, shredded (8 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Sour cream, for garnishing
  • Lime wedges, for garnishing


  1. On medium-low, heat the oil in a skillet and add the chorizo. Cook for 10 minutes or until browned, breaking up any large pieces. With a slotted spatula, remove the cooked chorizo from the skillet and place in a large pot. Leaving the oil in the skillet, add the onions and cook on medium-low heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.

  2. Transfer the onions and garlic to a blender and add the tomatoes, chipotle chiles, cumin, oregano and allspice. Blend until smooth and pour the blender contents into the pot that holds the chorizo. Add to the pot the black-eyed peas and their liquid, the chicken broth and the cilantro. Bring the pot to a boil and then turn down the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Add the shredded cheese and while occasionally stirring, continue to cook until the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. Stir in the crushed tortilla chips and simmer for 10 more minutes. Add the lime juice and then taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt and black pepper.

  3. Serve with sour cream, cilantro, and lime wedges.

  1. While I'm not a fan of black eyed peas (at ALL) this may be a good way to get myself to eat them without hating it! Chorizo- and Blue Bell, Dr. Pepper, authentic Mexican food- makes everything better. This Alaskan is ready for
    my trip down to Texas to visit, can ya tell?

  2. Victoria (The District Chocoholic)

    Yum, chorizo AND soup – two great winter things, merged into one.

  3. You are so very talented – I am just a 'recipe follower'. Can't wait til your cookbook is published.

  4. SweetSavoryPlanet

    It sounds like you made lemonade out of lemons. I love lemonade.

    For me black eyed peas are for New Years Day. Thankfully, I already have mine and am ready to go!

  5. Madara Hill

    I like it; it's like a Te Mex Hoppin' John. Did you have a penny in the bottom of the bowl?

  6. Kathy Combs

    I've gotten quite a few great recipes from Mary Jo myself. Your improv version sounds awesome. Gonna have to give it a try.

  7. Wow, I just happen to have some chorizo and a bag of dry black eyed peas I've been trying to figure out what to do with! Thanks!

  8. Farmer Jen

    Sounds delicious! Glad you made it home safely.

  9. Sounds like you managed to go with it and still have an okay couple of days. I've never been to Pittsburgh, but it wouldn't be on my top ten list of fun places to get stranded, but free WiFi would certainly help.

    All the best to you in 2011!

  10. Lisa Fain

    Ashley–Yep, all those things definitely make life better.

    Victoria–Indeed, a winning combination!

    Mary Jo–Thank you!

    SweetSavoryPlanet–I love lemonade, too!

    Madera Hill–I hadn't thought of it that way, but you're right!

    Kathy–Isn't Mary Jo great?

    Sara–You're very welcome. Enjoy!

    Farmer Jen–I'm glad to be home, too. Thank you!

    Kalyn–Ha! It would have never been on my list either, which was such a joyful surprise. I like Pittsburgh. Who knew?

  11. I might be able to tolerate black-eyed peas with this recipe. Thanks for the recipe!

  12. Michelle Stiles

    I knew that you would have a black eyed pea recipe this time of year. I mean, your a Texan for cryin out loud!

    Have a great new year!


  13. Annie @ButteryBooks

    Dang girl! You are good! Never considered black eyed peas and chorizo! Yum-yum!

  14. Nice use of black-eyed peas for the New Year! This soup sounds like just the thing on a cold winter's night. I can't wait for your cookbook to come out; I'm probably going to camp out for it!

  15. I love your new-found philosophy. I have actually been living that way for many years. I finally learned, after many years of struggle, that surrendering to life is far richer than what I had originally planned for myself. And because of that, I have had some amazing experiences, with many more to come!

    This soup sounds wonderful. Thanks for venturing out on a limb and trying something new with the old recipe.

  16. Anonymous

    This looks great! We'll be trying it Saturday. Any chance you could post the white chili recipe?

    Your blog is fantastic, by the way!

  17. mmmm…that looks good, and black eyed peas are my favorite! Gotta have corn bread with them though. If I didn't have my new years menu made out, I'd fix this. Everyone come to Texas and get out of the cold. It's about 67 degrees and SUNNY today.

  18. Class factotum

    I wish you'd been able to leave the airport and go to the Strip. I have never had a bad meal in P'burgh (my husband is from there). The sandwiches at Primanti's are yummy. Every time we go, we return loaded up with supplies from the Penn. Macaroni Company.

  19. Anonymous

    I am so disapointed. I was stuck in the pittsburgh airport at the same time. Too bad my texas longhorn gear didn't spark a introduction. Glad you liked pittsburgh. I've been up here for eighteen years since leaving texas and love it. Love your site.

  20. Morgan G

    Thank you, Lisa! My husband and I are cooking at home tonight and then heading out to our favorite local Mexican restaurant for a New Year's Eve margarita. This soup will start the night off perfectly. I'm so glad I stumbled upon HT this year and look forward to another year of tasty recipes.

  21. Anonymous

    I can't wait to try this….it sounds devine. Do you (or can you) suggest a brand name for the chorizo. I live in San Antonio, Tx and there are a lot of brands here but my experience has been that the chorizo doesn't crumble so much as it disintegrates into a puddle of grease. I hope you can help. Sherry A. TEXAS

  22. Hi,
    I'm a new Mary Jo. Glad to see another one listed. We are few and far between.
    I actually heard about this site because I was looking for a tortilla recipe using olive oil and found one here. 2007
    I just wanted to comment that the flour tortillas are NOT gringo fare at all but come from the Sephardic Jewish tradition. Many Spanish Jews became what is known as 'conversos' meaning they converted to Catholicism (or pretended to) and left Spain during the Inquisition and came to the new world. They brought their Spanish traditions with them as well as their Jewish ones. Many of us who have roots in Texas may be surprised to find they are descendants of these families. There are many websites devoted to this information which is especially useful if you are interested in genealogy.
    I'm going to try your recipe, it sounds good.
    Have a Happy New Year.

  23. Lisa Fain

    Lisa–There's so much other good stuff happening you might not even notice the black-eyed peas!

    Michelle–Have a great New Year, too!

    Annie–It's an excellent combination!

    Cookie–Yep, there's peace and calm to be found when you surrender.

    Anon–Perhaps I will in the future.

    Traci–Oh, yes–cornbread with black-eyed peas are a must!

    Class Factotum–I had a Primanti sandwich, which was quite decadent. And I may return to Pittsburgh as I'd like to see more of the city.

    Anon–No way? Were you on the flight from Houston?

    Morgan–Why thank you! Happy New Year to you!

    Sherry–Unfortunately, I don't know of any brand names but when I do buy chorizo in Texas I read the package and try to get one that doesn't have weird stuff in it, such as lymph nodes. I find the more pure it is the less greasy it will be. Hope that helps!

    Mary Jo–Thanks for sharing this interesting history! Happy New Year !

  24. Heather @ chiknpastry

    glad you made the most of a sour situation! we were in NC for a few days and were very lucky to not get stuck there, because we know many whose flights were cancelled….

    can't wait for that cookbook, and i am definitely making this soup. i have some black eyed peas leftover from making hoppin' john (and some chorizo in the freezer..).

  25. Deborah

    I have only been able to find Spanish chorizo in Marietta, Ga. so I made chorizo according to your recipe–so easy and so good. Soup is waiting for guests tonight and will make again to take to work tomorrow night–yes I work on New Years Day–hospitals never close. Always look forward to your posts since I love this kind of food and my husband is also a "homesick Texan"married to a native Atlanta girl!

  26. What a tasty and hearty looking soup! It would hit the spot on a chilly winter day.

  27. I too am a homesick Texan currently living in the mountains north of Atlanta. I check your blog daily and love it. I made the blackeyed pea soup for New Years Eve – I don't like black eyed peas but the soup was fabulous! Thanks for sharing!

  28. Anonymous

    Unfortunately my Wegman's didn't have Turkey Chorizo, which I wanted, but I made it with turkey and garlic Italian sausage and it was still fabulous! Thanks and Happy New Year's Day.

  29. I got stuck in Texas during the blizzard, and while I was happy for a few extra days of Tex Mex and good margaritas, I was so anxious to get back to NYC!

    Couldn't get my hands on chorizo, so I substituted hot Italian sausage. The recipe was delicious — I think this might be my New Year's staple!

  30. Thank you for the recipe. Made a double recipe for New Years Eve. It was a delicious soup we ate early in the evening, then let it cook down for a tasty dip with tortilla chips. Finally, finished it off as refried beans to go with our enchiladas. We are displaced Texans living in Oregon. The best Mexican food here is made in my kitchen.

  31. Celeste

    Just made this – I added frozen collard greens, though. Trying to kill two good luck foods with one soup. It's really good!!!

  32. Happy new year Lisa! Your chorizo and black eyed pea chili looks awesome. Perfect for any cold night. Glad you made it back to NY!

  33. The Fashionable Traveler

    That sounds delicious! I've often found that the most memorable trips are those that don't go as planned.

    Happy New Year!


  34. JosieJurczenia

    Delicious New Years Day soup. I think it will become a tradition for us…much better than our usual ham and black eyed peas. Thanks.

  35. I've been newly introduced to your blog, and this is the first recipe I've made. I LOVED it, and so did my New Year's Day guests, who included one native Texan and three (including me) people who just moved north from Texas after living there for several years.

    I made a few minor adjustments, based on what was in my cupboards, but the soup was delicious. I can't wait to have the leftovers for lunch. I really enjoy the blog, and already have your cookbook on next year's Christmas wish list.

  36. Chilewheel

    This soup is now sharing top billing with black eyed pea curry, my previous favorite New Years black eyed pea dish. The only modification I made was to add some sofrito containing culantro,red bell and anaheim chiles, tomato, garlic and onion. I make big batches and freeze it in 1/2 cup portions. Next time I think I'll make this soup with some home made chorizo. I've been wanting to try both your's and Rick Bayless's recipes. Your writing and your food have been consistently enjoyable. Greatly looking forward to your book.

  37. Caroline Shields

    Good call on the cheese fries. And an even better call on the soup!

  38. Wow, that looks amazing! And black-eyed peas are something I love, but, like turkey, I only make two or three times a year. Thank you for the additional idea!

  39. Lisa Fain

    Heather–Glad you didn't get stuck either. Traveling in the winter is always such an adventure!

    Deborah–Glad you liked the chorizo! And thanks for your hard work, as someone who's spent time in ER on a holiday, know that it's much appreciated.

    Kevin–Indeed it will!

    Bev S–You're welcome, so happy you enjoyed it!

    Anon–I think it would be pretty terrific with any kind of sausage!

    Erin–Happy y'all liked it! I'll have to try it with hot Italian sausage next time.

    Kathy–A dip? What a great idea!

    Celeste–Brilliant addition!

    Katie–Happy New Year to you, too!

    The Fashionable Traveler–I agree, it makes for a more interesting life that way.

    Josie–Thank you! So glad y'all enjoyed it!

    Angie–Thrilled y'all liked it!

    Chilewheel–Black-eyed pea curry? Now that i have to try! And good luck with the homemade chorizo. Once you make it at home I doubt you'll buy store-bought again.

    Caroline–I can never refuse a basket of cheese fries!

    Anna–I know what you mean–I definitely need to eat black-eyed peas more often. As well as turkey. They're both so healthy and delicious!

  40. Sharon M

    Thanks for the inspiration! We made this on New Year's Day and it was a big hit, especially with my husband, who is a lover of all things pica. This one's definitely a keeper!

  41. Mary @ stylefyles

    ohhh yum, I want this sitting in my kitchen. Looks fantastic!

    On the news, I watched how a riot almost broke loose at an airport McDonald's. Apparently the food was getting low or something, and hungry passengers saw fit to riot.

    It made me wonder how long I'd need to go sans food before fighting over fast food.

    For your black eyed pea and Mexican chorizo soup; however, I'm inclined to guess it would take just about 9.4 seconds of someone holding it out of my reach.

  42. Dinners and Dreams

    I think chorizo is a smart addition to this soup. I can imagine how good it must taste.



  43. Lisa – thanks so much for a wonderful New Year's meal. Everybody loved it! The only changes I made were to add a poblano (I had one that was dying to jump in) and to not blend the soup – we like our food chunky. I made it New Year's Eve so it could sit and the flavors could develop. People kept on sneaking in for samples. It was so good.
    For Deborah from Marietta – I used to live there – the Publix in Roswell has Mexican chorizo.

  44. Shelley

    I emphatically do not believe that everything happens for a reason. But I do believe (and this is very different, but encourages the same result) that human beings may as well try to make the best of whatever.

    And so you did! Not easy in the airport!

  45. Susannah

    I made this for New Years Day, and I think it will become one of my yearly staples. On the downside, I did not like the "loose" chorizo I bought to put in it when 'fried' a bit with oil. Good flavor, wicked and wierd consistency when added to soup. Next time, I'll buy links and de-case them. On the plus side, the sour cream blobby absolutely makes the dish. Thanks!

  46. TexaGermaNadian

    This looks amazing! I stumbled across your sight, and I too am a homesick Texan. I sorely missed Black Eyed Peas for New Year's Day this year. Must remember to bring a bag with me when I come back to Germany so I can try this delicious recipe!

  47. I made this last night and it was delicious – warm, soft, and hearty. I ended up throwing all of the ingredients in the crockpot, skipping the food processing step. It turned out fantastic, especially with the addition of crumbled chips and lime juice. Thank you for a perfect January recipe!

  48. Hi I love your blog, I love southwestern/tex-mex food and just about every recipe on here has me wanting to make it. I am from the Pittsburgh area and I am glad you liked it. I just wonder if I can find Mexican chorizo here in my small town. Crossing my fingers that I can.

  49. Stephanie @ Dollop of Cream

    This looks like just the thing to make on a cold and rainy winter day on the West Coast. Thank you!

  50. Karen @ My Pantry Shelf

    This soup looks delicious! I love celebrating soups all winter. This will be on next week's menu!

  51. Kimberley

    Yes, yes, yes. Life is what happens while you're other making plans. I think that was the biggest lesson of 2010 for me. Love this soup, and your blog!

  52. I love how spicy this black-eyed pea dish is. Sounds like a great start to new year. We are already in the middle of January, but I don't think I'm too late to have this satisfying soup. Looks yummy!

  53. Karen @ My Pantry Shelf

    I made this soup for dinner last night. It turned out great. It was a bit on the spicy side for my kiddos, so I made some rice and scooped out the beans to make them a flavorful beans and rice dish with cheese on top. It was a hit. My husband and I loved the soup as is. Thanks for sharing.

  54. This recipe looks great. I'm an Arizonian living in Europe and I always check your blog for ideas about how to bring more deliciousness into my life. Thanks!

  55. I made a few adaptions to fit what I had on hand and got a pretty good chili out of it. (Sorry, Lisa, but this is chili to me. The only border I like to put on my food is a scalloped border on a frosted cake. 🙂

    I had only one cup of dry blackeyed peas, but I did have a can of black beans, so I used those. To help bulk it up, then, I threw two chopped peppers (red & yellow) in with the onion, and I also doubled the spices and threw those in with the cooking veggies as well. Pureed those with some canned, pureed tomatoes. I added only about two cups of (weak) chicken broth, and I balanced the flavors with a touch of molasses and Liquid Smoke. Oh, and I left out the shredded cheese entirely, as I prefer to go the garnish route with that.

    My sweetheart downed two bowls quickly. He's a good eater. Thanks for a tasty chili!

    [verification word: licker. ha!]

  56. redforever

    Outside of upping the cumin, oregano, and chipotle peppers, I made this recipe as it…

    and it was absolutely delicious.

    I served it with lots of garnishes and if possible, was even better that way.

    Thx for a great recipe.

  57. shawn/soupy

    I have been looking for a recipe for black eyed peas forever and I have finally found the one for me. I've never had them before, but I have some in the freezer waiting for the perfect recipe. Thanks for this!

  58. Anonymous

    Making this for the 3rd time. An amazingly delicious recipe that does so many flavors right. Usually use a mixture of soy/pork chorizo for extra textural awesomeness. SO GOOD!

  59. This is a delicious recipe. No negative comments? I saw NONE. That Is unheard of. I make this at least once each month and I enjoy it more each time. Very easy to make. You can be flexible with ingredients and it is always amazing. Spicy delicious

  60. Barry Bruce

    5 stars
    I actually think i like it more than anyone else. It is probably my favorite recipe.

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